The Dining Room provides audience with full plate

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The Dining Room provides audience with full plate

Olivia Griffin, Staff Reporter

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The stage was set. The audience was seated. The lights were dimmed. Despite there being a dining room table and chairs onstage, the stage was otherwise empty as the theatre department was prepared to take the audience into the world of The Dining Room.  

Written by A.R. Gurney in 1981, The Dining Room, a Pulitzer-Prize winning play, is set in a single dining room of a well-to-do household, and consists of a mosaic of interrelated scenes – some funny, some touching, some rueful. All together, these scenes tell the stories of families, friends, holidays, parties, fights, and of the lives of the characters portrayed in the play. Each actor portrays a wide variety of characters, changing costumes, ages, and personalities.

What audiences may not realize is that most of the play was actually student-directed. This comes as a surprise, because, even for professionals, they would be considered well-directed, so for students to direct scenes so well performed is a major accomplishment that should make them proud.

The play featured actors of a near-professional caliber. Seniors Sean Gordon, Christina Pattakos, Kensey Berry, Drew Shafranek, Michael King, Will McInerney, and Maggie Wright were all well prepared and well rehearsed, never missing a beat in their performance.

Pattakos, a stage veteran, demonstrated her experience and skill in her each of her roles. Gordon did an excellent job portraying the roles of the architect and a stuck-up, angry upper-class society member, while Shafranek’s role as Standish featured many idiosyncrasies that made the character appear realistic and funny.  Though the actors rarely broke character, there were a few instances of some actors having inconsistent accents in a couple of scenes.

The elite production also featured juniors Alex Adkins, Cam Casey, Erin Shafranek, and Lauren Sanders, along with sophomore Farren Barnett. Casey had her best performance so far at the school, while Sanders and Adkins maintained the high level of talent and ability that have earned them major roles in the past. Shafranek stole the show with her monologue at the end of the play, and provided a touching, bittersweet performance as the senile grandmother at Thanksgiving, during which soft sobs could be heard from the audience. Without a doubt, Shafranek was one of the strongest actors in the play.

Senior Tessa Haas led the technical crew of the show, with the assistance of senior Ashlynn Grover and sophomore Meredith Bergwall. Though the set and lighting were fairly basic, they were well done. Costume designer Ashlynn Grover did a superb job of designing costumes appropriate for the era of each of the scenes, and the sheer number of costumes per character was immense for a high school show.

The performers in The Dining Room were challenged when they had to portray different characters, but executed each role flawlessly, never breaking character and giving each one a unique, individual flair.